Words by Craig Pool.
Over the last couple of years, South London’s most highly rated up and coming post-punks, Shame, have built a reputation for sweaty and hectic live shows. Many fans wondered whether the band would be able to convert that chaos onto record for their debut album Songs Of Praise, and after only one listen it’s clear that Shame answer that question. The answer is yes by the way.
The album opens with Dust On Trail which ensures the listener that they are in for a rough ride over the next 10 tracks, but that’s exactly what we expected. There isn’t a better lyric to sum up the attitude of the band than One Rizla’s “You can choose to hate my words, but do I give a fuck?” Released in November, the song is a stand out on the record.
The provocative lyrics and venomous delivery tell you that Steen is serious about the message he is trying to convey and he means every word. Donk is one minute and forty seconds of agitated, rip-roaring guitar music. “Well I’d love to pick you up, but I would rather watch you crawl,” drips with the dark and menacing attitude of any great punk band.
Friction has a classically infectious riff throughout, but is sarcastic and contains clear political and social undertones. The questioning lyrics try to get inside the head of the listener and succeed in their attempt to unnerve and unstable.
The album draws to a halt with Angie. A wonderfully crafted track that reveals a side to Shame that wasn’t particularly expected. The music remains driving and full of swagger and boldness, but the lyrics don’t match the abrasiveness of the previous nine songs. It’s a love song, well written and well delivered.
With this electrifying debut album, Shame have managed to fill both new listeners with excitement and loyal fans with pride. Scruffy but intense, grimey but totally memorable. It may only be mid January, but Shame have made sure that they won’t be forgotten by anyone when it comes to the album of the year lists come the end of 2018.
Review written by Craig Pool, you can follow Craig on twitter here.